Jared Allen critical of playoff idea

  • ESPN.com news services | December 14, 2012

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen is not a fan of the NFL exploring the idea of playoff expansion.

"It's stupid," Allen told reporters Thursday. "I think it's a dumb idea. The reason our league is so much better than other leagues, I think, is because of that competition. Every game means something. There are 162 games in baseball and you're like, 'Ehhh.' No one really watches until the end, right? Basketball, same way. There's no real significance on every game. And I think you damage the sport if an 8-8 team [has a greater playoff chance]. You know what I mean? Now our games become less significant each week if you know, like, 'Oh, I can still lose half my games and sneak into the playoffs."

Allen's comments come in the wake of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell saying at the owners' meetings Wednesday that the league would spend the next few months looking at the idea of adding more teams to the playoffs.

In the current format -- adopted in 2002 after the NFL added the Houston Texans and realigned the league into eight four-team divisions -- 12 teams make the playoffs: eight division champions and two wild cards in each conference.

The NFL has had 12 teams qualify for the postseason since 1990, when it expanded the field from 10, adding a third wild card in each conference to join three division champions. Goodell said the league would explore adding two to four playoff teams, meaning half of the league's 32 teams could make the postseason.

Allen's criticism also comes as the Vikings (7-6) are battling for an NFC playoff spot. Even though the Vikings would have a better shot at making the playoffs if there were more teams, Allen still likes the current system.

"With all these changes, it's not necessarily always a good thing," Allen said. "I know it probably is for owners. They make more money. And TV and all that good stuff. But at some point, the identity of our league and what it stands on and why it's so good is because every game means something."

In 2008, the Patriots missed the playoffs with an 11-5 record. Three years earlier, Allen's Chiefs failed to qualify for the postseason with a 10-6 mark.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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